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In wake of east side assaults, St. Paul city leaders look for answers

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In the wake of a near-fatal beating that left a 26-year-old man in a coma, city officials in St. Paul held a meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss the recent violence on the city's east side.

Fox 9 reports that St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman was to meet with St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith, St. Paul City Attorney Sara Grewing and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi to discuss ways to curb what neighbors see as an escalating trend.

Ray Widstrand, 26, of St. Paul was allegedly attacked by a gang in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood on the evening of Aug. 4.

Police made four arrests after the incident. One of the men, 19-year-old Issac Maiden of St. Paul, was charged with first-degree assault, first-degree aggravated robbery and crime to benefit a gang. Police said a fifth suspect was arrested Tuesday.

The Pioneer Press gives a timeline of other violence in the area, saying that residents of the Payne-Phalen neighborhood will get a chance to voice their concerns this week at a public meeting organized by the neighborhood's planning council "to respond to recent acts of gang-related crime and violence in our neighborhood."

Representatives from the St. Paul police and the Ramsey County attorney's office are expected at the meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Arlington Hills Lutheran Church to respond to questions, provide updates on violent incidents and give details of planned police and prosecution responses,

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